Because train accidents involving passengers are uncommon compared to those transporting goods, there are things people may not think about or know regarding train wrecks. If you are planning to travel by train, it’s a good idea to know as much as you can. If you have recently been in a train accident and are struggling with recovery, our lawyers are here for you.
Train derailments are more common than you may realize.
There were 1,625 train accidents across the country in 2017. The Bureau of Transportation reported the accidents in three categories: derailments, collisions, and other. Nearly 1,200 of the accidents were deemed derailments. Only 86 were collisions and 356 were categorized as other.
Fortunately, most of the derailments did not result in injury or death. Property damage was found to be the main consequence. This is because only a slim minority of US trains carry passengers. Also, most railroad tracks are in rural and relatively unpopulated places.
News of catastrophic train accidents seems to be heard more frequently than in past years or decades. While the studies and statistics can tell us why these accidents happen, it does not make them any less devastating.
Train Accident Statistics
From 2012-2016, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported a total of 50,085 railroad transportation accidents. That includes both railroad and highway-rail grade crossing accidents.
As a result of those accidents, 3,760 people were killed: 2,235 due to trespassing, 1,221 in highway-rail grade cross accident, 44 in train accidents, and 170 for other reasons.
While new technologies, like improved braking systems and positive train control, have the potential to decrease train accidents, these systems are expensive. Train companies do not always feel as though new systems are a wise investment. In addition to the lack of technological upgrades, here are some other main reasons train accidents occur:
Human Error. Human error is the leading cause of train accidents in the United States. The term “human error” includes excessive speeding, failure to break, and engineer distraction. In December 2017, in DuPont, Washington, an Amtrak train derailed traveling around a curve while going 80mph in a 30mph zone. Three people were killed.
Track and Roadbed Malfunctions. There are over 140,000 miles of railroad tracks throughout the United States. The condition and maintenance of these tracks and rails place a significant part in the number of accidents. In February 2018, an Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a garbage truck near Crozet, Virginia. One man was killed, others were injured. There are questions as to whether or not the signal system was functioning properly at that time.
Mechanical Failure. Mechanical failure also plays a large role in train accidents. Approximately ten percent of all train accidents are caused by mechanical failure.
Other unfortunate reasons for train derailments and collisions are:
Collision with another train
Collision with a car, bus, or truck trying to cross train tracks
Pedestrians on the tracks
Accidents at unmarked railroad crossings
Faulty train crossings
With the number of unnecessary deaths related to train accidents, there is a need for improved laws and regulation to protect passengers and pedestrians. Train companies, train engineers, and travelers can all take measures to prevent train accidents.
Train companies and engineers need to be vigilant when it comes to train and railroad maintenance. Engineers should be focused at all times and abide by all laws and regulations. Drivers should never assume a track is not is use or stop their vehicle on a track and should always look both ways before crossing a train track.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a train collision, you need a law firm that understands the federal laws and regulations for the railroad industry. Here at Solomon Law Group, our South Carolina train accident lawyers are dedicated to holding the train companies accountable for their negligence. You may be owed compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, damages, or financial loss. Reach out to us today to get the justice you deserve.
The attorneys at the Solomon Law Group are experienced in making claims involving Amtrak passengers. In order to determine what type of claim needs to be made, whom it needs to be made against, and what your damages are, there must be a thorough investigation conducted by your attorney(s). In a typical collision involving an Amtrak passenger train, there are several contributing factors that may or may not be in Amtrak’s control.
Solomon Law Group has recently resolved a significant claim in an Amtrak collision that was caused by a truck sitting on a railroad. In order to determine the best way to make a claim, the attorneys at the Solomon Law Group had to investigate the owners of the track and the actions that were taken that day by the involved parties. Additionally, research was conducted to determine whether the railroad crossing was in compliance with federal regulations and industry standards.
The cause of the collision appears to be a rail switch that was aligned to the spur (secondary track), causing Amtrak Train 91 to leave its intended route and travel down a track where a CSX train was parked. Sadly, 116 people were injured, and two Amtrak employees were killed. Our sincere condolences go out to Amtrak’s engineer, Michael Kempf, and Amtrak’s conductor, Michael Cella.
The attorneys at the Solomon Law Group are experienced in making claims involving Amtrak passengers and are prepared to provide legal representation to the victims in the February 4, 2018, collision between Amtrak Train 91 and an unmanned CSX train. Amtrak Train 91 was traveling from New York to Miami when it was involved in a collision in Cayce, South Carolina, early Sunday morning.
In order to determine what type of claims need to be made and whom the claims need to be made against to recover your damages, there must be a thorough investigation conducted by attorneys familiar with such cases.